Greetings from my past
When I was younger, packing for a holiday might include my battered address book, or at least a scrap of paper with my best friends addresses on.
The first day of the holiday would probably involve exploring and, before we’d even begun our adventure, I’d be browsing the souvenir shops for a card on which to tell the stories I’d soon have.
Over the years, the list of recipients would change – grandparents and cousins, friends and then parents and siblings – those people I really wished might be there on holiday with me.
The sending and receiving of postcards, was a part of the summer I loved
I’m not even sure I could tell you why postcards were special – they were rarely artistic or thought provoking – but I think it’s because they suggested that people were thinking of you at a time when they were happy and enjoying life.
But very few people will receive cards from me this year – they’re increasingly expensive and harder to find – and, although I encourage the children to write some, they tut and sigh as if I’m asking them to do homework.
And it’s not just my family that don’t write cards any more, we don’t receive many either. A study by Gatwick airport back in 2017 discovered that “the number of Britons sending postcards from their holidays has more than halved (down 60 per cent) over the last twenty years.” Although they also found that “18-34 year-olds, are 55 per cent more likely to send postcards than their elders” [Could millennials rescue the postcard from extinction].
Replacing the postcard with digital media
So why have we stopped posting? Well, we haven’t – as the Gatwick survey discovered – It’s just that we post digitally now.
Instead of paying the postage to send one, impersonal, picture to each address – knowing it’s likely to arrive home after we do – we can now post on social media and give everyone on our friends list holiday envy.
I’m being nostalgic, I know… Social media allows us to share our own thoughts – and photographs – with people we choose, when we choose; that’s certainly not a bad thing. But it’ll never be the same as getting a postcard and then sticking it on the fridge to enjoy the view.
And it isn’t the same as sending a postcard either. Finding the right card for each recipient, and the right story too… Telling mum about the fantastic beaches and views from the lovely house, and my sister about the seagulls that tried to steal our chips and the dog that soaked us on the beach.
What’s your view on postcards? Dead and gone, or ready for a resurgence?
At least with my address book in my phone now, that’s one less thing to pack!